Pope: consecration of Sagrada Familia is gesture of 'peace'
Pope Benedict XVI said his consecration of Barcelona's Sagrada Familia, the masterpiece of Antoni Gaudi, into a Basilica on Sunday shows "that God is a God of peace not of violence."
"This is the great task before us: to show everyone that God is a God of peace not of violence, of freedom not of coercion, of harmony not of discord," the 83-year-old pontiff said in a homily.
"I consider that the dedication of this church of the Sagrada Familia is an event of great importance, at a time in which man claims to be able to build his life without God, as if God had nothing to say to him.
"In this masterpiece, Gaudi shows us that God is the true measure of man; that the secret of authentic originality consists, as he himself said, in returning to one's origin which is God.
He said the Sagrada "stands as a visible sign of the invisible God, to whose glory these spires rise like arrows pointing towards absolute light and to the One who is Light, Height and Beauty itself."
The pope quoted the architect himself, who lived from 1852 to 1926, as saying that "'a church (is) the only thing worthy of representing the soul of a people, for religion is the most elevated reality in man.'"
In a later Angelus, or devotion, at the Basilica, he referred to the "genius" of Gaudi.
The architect, "inspired by the ardour of his Christian faith, succeeded in raising this sanctuary as a hymn of praise to God carved in stone.
But he made no reference to the process of Gaudi's beatification, which began in 2003, although some in the Vatican have estimated that the consecration of his masterpiece can give a boost to this cause.
A Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said before the pope left Rome that Benedict had come to consecrate the Sagrada Familia, but "not to beatify Gaudi before the right time."
© 2010 AFP